Salesforce Journey Builder: Overview and Best Practices

Also read our complete Salesforce implementation guide.


Salesforce Journey Builder is meant to help you streamline the process of communication and interaction with your clients. It is a powerful tool that enables you to provide a unified, seamless experience for your customers from the moment they become aware of your offering, to finally closing the deal, thus keeping them satisfied. It is Salesforce’s scalable solution to building a smooth and seamless buyer’s journey.


Let’s take a closer look.

What is Salesforce Journey Builder?

You want your messages to be relevant and personal to each customer you interact with. Whether it is by email, messaging on some mobile platform, or with your advertising campaigns, your clients should receive a well-organized, well-coordinated experience with your brand. The aim of Salesforce Journey Builder is to bring simplicity into this process by giving you a single platform from which to organize the user interactions that will occur along the customer’s journey across different platforms. You can set aims that will be achieved with every action a contact takes along the way. Journey Builder lets you see and control how these behaviors and your responses ultimately lead to achievement of your marketing goals. 

Why Does Your Business Need The Salesforce Journey Builder?

One of the most important things in business is the ability to respond to customer needs in time. Journey Builder gives you the ability to quickly pick up what moments are crucial in the customer experience and take the appropriate action to satisfy their needs. You can automatically respond to events triggered when your client takes a certain action. This could be by clicking a call to action on a landing page, completing a purchase, downloading a brochure or after an encounter with your service personnel. 


Salesforce Journey builder will also better equip you to make your communication with your clientele feel more personal for them. You can use the information you have to address them more directly and use past events, browsing habits, and other data to tailor your messaging more to their taste and build a stronger relationship.


Also, by having the ability to respond to real-time events, you can automatically modify the responses of your system to adapt to changes in your clients’ preferences. This ensures that your actions are always aligned with the customer’s needs and not just rigidly set according to the path taken by the majority of your clients.


This process probably sounds a lot like automation. So why not use Automation Studio instead?

The Difference Between Journey Builder and Automation Studio

In a nutshell, Automation Studio in Salesforce Marketing Cloud is meant to provide users with the ability to perform repetitive tasks automatically. Journey Builder is meant to help you tailor your messaging and actions to individuals at different stages of the buyer’s journey, and thus personalize your interaction. 


Automation Studio enables you to do things like receive data from a source, perform certain operations that you can specify on it, and load it into another process, all without your intervention. In this way, you can take an entire workflow – sending emails, importing or exporting data, and so on – and have it run on its own based on certain triggers. 


Journey Builder will map out a series of actions starting with an initial event, with time intervals between triggers and responses, and based on the client’s feedback, further actions. The process continues until the client completes the journey. 

Journey Builder Main Features: What Builds a Journey

Entry Source

The entry source refers to the initial event that triggers subsequent steps as the contact traverses the journey. For example, a contact may enter the journey by signing up for a webinar and providing an email address might trigger a response email. Based on their response to that email, further action will be programmed to take place. So that webinar would conceptually be the entry source.


Activities let you perform the action you want to take place in the context of a journey. These are the next steps after the entry event. You can link these actions to your own systems. For example, you can check if the customer has entered a coupon code and send them down a different path on the journey, or to see if the client is a Gold Member and perform certain actions based on that status. You can create your own custom activities or use the ones provided out of the box. 

Flow Control

This provides the direction and timing of the actions and events the contact encounters along their journey. One way to think of it is that it is a set of conditions that determine what happens next. Have 24 hours passed since an email was sent to a contact? Have they opened it? Have they responded? Different answers to these questions will trigger different steps down various paths along the journey. There is plenty of flexibility around what these conditions can be, and what paths the journey can branch into. 

Salesforce Journey Builder Best Practices

Here are a few tips to help you design an effective Journey.


To start with, a journey can get quite long and complicated. Break it down into logical units of steps. These modules will be easier to understand, tweak, and improve later on, and will also make life easier when testing. 

Think about processing overheads

Having clean and well-prepared data will take some load off your resources. You can find exact matches if naming is done properly for example. Or you can run searches on smaller categories if your data is well-segmented and you regularly purge irrelevant data – like inactive contacts. Seemingly small considerations like this will help improve the efficiency and performance of your computing resources. 

Keep improving

Keep analyzing the performance of your journeys to see what could be done better. Run A/B tests to check the effectiveness of different types of content on different audiences. The better the quality of your interactions are, the more successful at converting leads your Journeys will be. 

Pay attention to your audiences

Journey Builder is a useful tool that makes it easier for you to reach your clients. However, keep in mind that the purpose is not just to automate this communication, but to make it more meaningful and personal. Constantly review the content you are showing to ensure it is relevant to the audiences at your entry source. Vary the journeys, content, and activities to match those groups. For instance, are you paying attention to working hours in different time zones when sending emails?

Keep testing your Journeys

Regular testing will give you the confidence that once deployed, your Journeys will actually deliver the results you expect and intend. Looking at the schemas of your Journeys, everything might seem watertight. But run some contacts through some journeys and make sure you haven’t overlooked any steps and that all your links work. Use different types of contacts as well to make sure that the subtle differences are being picked up and the messaging is being varied to make it a more personal experience.


As your business grows, it becomes more and more challenging to deliver the kind of attention to each individual lead that will help ensure they stay on board for the entire journey. Your efforts are likely to become fragmented as you try to maintain a foothold on various different platforms – email, social media, ads, and so on. With Journey Builder, you can focus on the big picture, improving your content, and bringing your business closer to your clients, all while ensuring that your interactions with each client are focused, relevant, and personal.

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